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HALES CORNERS - The Hales Corners Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to move forward with the contested Edgerton Ave. project as planned.

Under the plan approved by the board during a meeting Monday, Jan. 23, Edgerton Ave. will be extended from its current varied width of 20 to 24 feet to a consistent 30 feet wide with the addition of four feet of paved shoulder on each side of the road. The road itself will be restructured, plus deeper ditches will be dug on each side of the road to improve drainage.

The project is expected to start construction mid-April and, without delays, be substantially completed by early September.

As initially planned

Residents living on Edgerton Ave. had voiced their opinion against the road reconstruction project in multiple ways, including at a board meeting Jan. 10, citing issues with the number of trees that would be removed, concerns about speeding on the road, and safety of pedestrians who might try to use the wider shoulder as a walkway.

"I think that staff, I think that we have extended ourselves and overextended ourselves to look at and to hear what the residents had to say," said village trustee Linda Teschendorf, who is also a member of the public works commission. "But when it comes down to it, we need to stay with our original design."

Though trustees did examine a possible alternative plan, ultimately, changing the plan would be substantially more expensive.

The alternative plan, as put together by Director of Public Works Mike Martin based on some residents' suggestions, would would have only added one foot of paved shoulder on each side of the road, and created draining ditches that were steeper, but not as wide.

However, building a thinner road would only save approximately four trees on the street, according to an estimate from Graef USA, the firm hired by the village to plan the project. (The original plan will eliminate an estimated 129 trees, and the alternative plan would have eliminated 125.) Since most of the trees are so close to the road, they would have to be removed no matter what, officials explained.

Going along with a different plan would cost the village an estimated $65,000 to $75,000 for redesign, according to a memo from Graef.

The village has also already set aside bonded funds and tax levy funding specifically for road construction, and they must use the funds for that purpose by the end of August 2018. Bond funds must be used for the purpose for which they were borrowed and cannot be re-purposed for other uses.

A redesign would also push the project back approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

Construction tie-in

A delay could cause the village to miss out on an opportunity to bid the project at the same time as Greenfield, which will be redoing a network of roads directly north of Edgerton this year.

“It turned out to be coincidental that we found out about Greenfield’s (project),” said Martin. “We’re anticipating on both sides … (that) we really could potentially save some money here, and I think it’s really worth this experiment.”

If the two municipalities release requests for bids at the same time, Martin explained, a company might try to come in with a low bid for both of the projects, wanting to stay in one location for the summer's work.

Regardless of such cost-savings, Kimberly Boehm, a resident on Edgerton, pointed out at the meeting that residents' opposition to the project was based on additional issues. These issues included the expanded footprint of the road, and the fact that because there is no tree replacement program in place residents will not be able to "get the trees back."

"Honestly, as a resident, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this project is going forward the way it is," said Boehm.

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